Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee

This site was created in cooperation with the Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee, and is supported by funding from the Department of Homeland Security.



Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms


Recorded by Andy Bailey, National Weather Service, Pleasant Hill, Mo.

Watches vs. Warnings

A TORNADO WATCH means that tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms. Find out what counties are in the watch area by listening to your NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television stations.

A TORNADO WARNING means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take cover immediately.

Be prepared for nature’s most violent storms

Tornadoes occur most frequently in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground.

The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide.

Tornado Safety Tips


Outside, in mobile homes, or in homes of modular construction: